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1924 Baseball Season


George Kelly was key to the Giants leading the National League in runs scored during the 1924 baseball season.
George Kelly was key to the Giants leading the National League in runs scored during the 1924 baseball season.

The big news during the 1924 baseball season was not what happened but what didn't happen. The New York Giants won again -- their fourth flag in four years -- but that was becoming routine. The Yankees, however, dropped to second place, 2 games behind the underdog Washington Senators, who had finished 231/2 games out only a year earlier.

You couldn't blame it on Babe Ruth; he won his only career batting title at .378 and led in homers (46), runs (143), walks (142), on-base average (.513), and slugging (.739). The rest of the offense wasn't bad, either. Wally Pipp legged out a league-leading 19 triples, third baseman Jumping Joe Dugan scored 105 runs, and Bob Meusel hit .325 and drove in 120 runs.

It was the Yankees' pitching that faltered a bit, compiling an ERA of 3.86, second in the league. Joe Bush's 17-16 record and Bob Shawkey's 4.11 ERA offset good efforts from 21-game winner Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, and Sad Sam Jones.

But the deciding factor in the 1924 American League race was the pitching of Walter Johnson, who after 19 years finally played on a team that provided him decent offensive support. The 36-year-old dead-ball veteran led the American League in strikeouts with 158, wins with 23, shutouts with six, and ERA at 2.72. He was voted American League MVP.

Rounding out the rest of Washington's staff, which led the American League in ERA at 3.34, was lefty Tom Zachary, who went 15-9 with a 2.75 ERA; George Mogridge, who finished 16-11; and early relief ace Firpo Marberry, who recorded 15 saves. The Senators' offense included Hall of Fame outfielder Goose Goslin, who hit .344 with a league-leading 129 RBI; Sam Rice, who hit .334 and scored 106 runs; and first baseman Joe Judge, who batted .324.

The National League race also featured a surprise contender in Brooklyn, which rose from sixth place in 1923 to win 92 games in 1924. Brooklyn was sparked by hitting stars Jack Fournier, who was second in the National League in RBI with 116 and first in home runs with 27; and Zach Wheat, who hit .375, second only to Rogers Hornsby's .424. Brooklyn also featured the pitching duo of spitballer Burleigh Grimes and Dazzy Vance, who combined for 50 wins, 60 complete games, and 620 innings. Vance, who led the league with a 2.16 ERA, won the National League's first MVP Award.

While Hornsby -- with a league-leading 121 runs, 227 hits, 373 total bases, and 89 walks -- was turning in a fine year for sixth-place St. Louis, it was the New York Giants who led the National League in runs scored. The Giants were driven by George Kelly, who batted .324 and drove in a National League-high 136 runs, as well as Frankie Frisch and Ross Youngs. McGraw's team survived tough challenges from Brooklyn, 11/2 games back at 92-62, and Pittsburgh, which came in 3 games off the pace at 90-63.

The 1924 World Series between the Giants and Senators was an exciting seven-game contest that was one of the closest in history. Four of the games were decided by one run and two went into extra innings.

New York won game one on a Youngs single in the 12th. Washington won game two on a Roger Peckinpaugh double in the ninth. The two teams split the next four games, thus setting up a game-seven showdown.

Game seven of the 1924 World Series went 12 innings, with Washington the winner. The game was decided by two bad-hop hits over third baseman Freddy Lindstrom's head, and comical misplays by New York catcher Hank Gowdy and shortstop Travis Jackson. Walter Johnson got the win in relief, his first career World Series victory.

Check out the next page for some of the headlines from the 1924 baseball season.

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